Gather ‘round the table, y’all. This is how we, as a family, make healthy food choices.
Leo was exactly 6 months old when he started eating solids. You know what? He was such a good eater. His palette was rather sophisticated for an infant. I experimented with tons of flavour profiles and I was always impressed with his willingness to try everything. (Including my beet and leek puree. Yup. He ate that.)
Fast forward to now, and we’ve entered the overloaded stage of toddlerhood. Joe and I both come from families where food is the centre of all gatherings. We make it a point to emphasize the importance of family meals while making healthy food choices.
Since Leo is eating just about everything now, we make it a point to prepare the same meal for the entire family. No exceptions; no separate dishes for anyone.
But don’t get me wrong. Meal planning is quite the task. Here are a few of our tips and tricks in keeping mealtime fun, delicious, and how we make healthy food choices as a family.
How to Make Healthy Food Choices as a Family
Plan it All Out
At the beginning of the week (usually, Sundays), Joe and I sit down and plan out our daily meal plan. We break it down to breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. As we jot down our meal ideas, we research recipes and carefully create a list so that we have a plan in place once we hit the grocery store.
Meal planning does take time but it ensures that we keep everything homecooked, thus, in control of what we consume as a family.
Take-Out and Dinner Reservations are Seldom
Before we got married, Joe and I were notorious for eating out… All. The. Time. Not only did this burn a hole through our wallets, but it also wasn’t the healthiest of choices we were making.
Fast forward to now, we approach restaurant outings as a cause for celebration or a well-deserved treat. We are also very selective with the restaurants in which we dine, ensuring that they’re family-friendly and offer a more refined menu featuring healthier meals.
Eating at Home Isn’t Always Homecooked
I like to think that I’m one of those people who can whip up a homecooked meal from scratch every single day.
Point is: that’s not always the case. Let’s face it, we are a generation of go-getters. I’m a career-driven mom that strives to do the best for her work and her family. Sometimes, time slips away. That’s when I turn to quick-meal solutions for a tasty, warm meal at the end of the day.
I know what you’re thinking: huh? What? Pre-packaged food?
Healthy choices doesn’t always have to be from farm to table. The reality for my family is: sometimes, we need that boxed meal in order to enjoy dinnertime together.
Just like how picky we are with restaurants, our family gets choosy in the packaged foods we purchase. In comes: Annie’s. Annie’s concept is simple: provide families with organic food options that are simple to prepare and taste delicious. You may have seen them at your local grocer’s. They have a whole line of pastas, crackers, cookies and fruit snacks. With a diverse product line, Annie’s makes it on our shopping list every single week. More recently, we discovered their Yummier Than Ever Mac and Cheese.
If their product offerings weren’t amazing enough, their new and improved mac and cheese is made with more real cheese flavour, a better sauce, and a better noodle. I know they always say: “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.” But you know what? This time around, it wasn’t broken, but Annie’s somehow made it better.
Since the noodles are now more kid-friendly in size, Leo is using it to his advantage. Slowly and surely, he’s learning to use cutlery, and Annie’s Yummier Than Ever Mac and Cheese is allowing him to learn and get through this transition.
Also: busy mom here. Yup, that’s me! Guess what? I’m tired! There! I’ve admitted defeat. But now, Annie’s Yummier Than Ever Mac and Cheese is a total cooking time of 8 minutes. Yes. Eight. 4+4. That is all.
Making healthy food choices doesn’t have to be impossible. All it takes is some planning, commitment, creativity, and trusted brands to transform mealtime into family time.
How do you save time when it comes to meal planning and preparing food?